Early Studies of Existing Therapy Show Promise in Treating Nerve Injury Linked to Prostate Removal

Early Studies of Existing Therapy Show Promise in Treating Nerve Injury Linked to Prostate Removal
A drug that has been approved for the treatment of chronic nerve disease such as multiple sclerosis called 4-aminopyridine (4AP) may also be used to repair nerve injury from, for example, prostate surgery, according to a new study. The study, “4‐Aminopyridine Promotes Functional Recovery And Remyelination In Acute Peripheral Nerve Injury,” was published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine. The procedure for prostate removal is sometimes associated with nerve damage, which may cause incontinence and erectile dysfunction, thereby increasing the refusal of patients of prostate cancer to accept the surgery. Current treatment of traumatic nerve injury consists of following the patients to see whether the affected nerve can spontaneously recover or if surgery is needed to repair the damage. However, "the patient who may recover is recovering so slowly that nerve-dependent tissues are in jeopardy, and the patient who needs surgery has to wait for weeks for the diagnosis that surgery is appropriate,” John Elfar, one of the senior authors of the study, said in a news release. “That delay means that surgery is less effective." But his team found evidence that 4AP may be a potential way to help the body accelerate the repair of nerve injuries. When traumatic nerve injury occurs, the myelin sheath — the material that surrounds and protects nerve fibers — is affected, and so is the activity of the nerve cells. In mice, daily treatment with 4AP prom
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